By Brian Radin, president, Comdata Prepaid.
Employment in healthcare occupations is projected to grow 15% over the next few years, adding nearly 2.4 million jobs. Yet, there is no end in sight to the nation-wide healthcare hiring crisis, especially among the majority of workers that are underpaid and undervalued. While understaffing can be a nuisance and result in lost earnings for those in sectors such as hospitality, it’s consequences can have catastrophic effects in healthcare.
What do you do when you can’t provide critical care in a timely manner? Many healthcare providers are facing this issue as the industry needs thousands of additional professionals to keep up with current and future demand.
What’s driving the crisis
To understand why the shortage is occurring, we need to understand the challenges many healthcare professionals face. Burnout is real – a recent poll by the Washington Post indicates nearly 30% of workers are considering leaving the profession as they seek a better work/life balance. Personal protective equipment (PPE) crucial for the safety and wellbeing of our healthcare workers is still widely unavailable for many small and mid-sized clinics. And they’re underpaid, too – Last year, nursing assistants made a median salary of $30,000, and medical assistants, home health aides and others averaged only $13.48 per hour (less than $30,000 per year). Finally, there’s a limited supply of medica professionals in general. As of now, the United States has a greater number of citizens over the age of 65 than ever before. Additionally, over the next ten years, 20% of the United States will become senior citizens. Add to that the training time needed to work in healthcare and you see a mismatch between the jobs that need to be filled and the skills available workers possess.
Healthcare leaders need to think outside the box to stem the tide of those workplace attrition. To get the top healthcare talent (and keep them), you need to answer two questions: how am I treating my employees and how am I treating my patients? Everyone wants to make good money, and while that’s an important factor, it’s not only about compensation.